What they said: John Huh

December 04, 2012

LAURA HILL: Thank you, we are pleased to have John Huh with us this afternoon, newly?minted PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year for 2012.

John was announced by Commissioner Finchem as Rookie of the Year. He won the Mayakoba Golf Classic in February, had a total of four Top?10 finishes this year, and was the only rookie to make it all the way to THE TOUR Championship presented by Coca?Cola. So he finished 29th in the final FedExCup standings. John is the first player ever of Korean descent to be voted PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year by a vote of his peers.

Congratulations, you've had a couple hours for it to sink in. Maybe give us your initial reaction on earning Rookie of the Year honors.

JOHN HUH: First of all, thank you for having me. It's a great honor to have this award, especially as a Korean, and it's really hard to explain just how I feel right now. Hopefully I have another great year next year.

LAURA HILL: Can you talk about when this was a goal of yours this season? And when you first teed it up on the PGA TOUR this season, what were your goals and did you imagine this day would come?

JOHN HUH: My first goal was get my card and play in 2013. But after playing in the first couple of events, I was playing really well; it was my goal, actually, middle of the year, when I was playing well, and I really was excited when I heard that news that I got Rookie of the Year in 2012.

Q. Curious how you think your experience at Q?School helped prepare you for this season.

JOHN HUH: As everybody knows, Q?School is the most difficult tournament you can imagine, so just going through that Q?School, it's helped me playing this season and gave me confidence that I could play and feel like I belong to the PGA. I think I handled myself really good during Q?School.

Q. Do you recall when you first became aware of K.J. Choi, I guess you were about 12 when he won for the first time on TOUR, and if you could just reflect on what he meant to maybe your inspiration and to other Korean players, as well.

JOHN HUH: Absolutely, when K.J. and Y.E. Yang started playing really well and having victories on the PGA TOUR really inspired all the players in Asia, especially in Korea, and I really felt that they actually opened the path for us that we could do it and we can play well enough to win tournaments and belong to the PGA TOUR. I'm really thankful to all of the guys on the TOUR, and especially the Korean players.

Q. You mentioned Y.E. Yang. Where were you when he beat Tiger at the PGA Championship and what was your reaction to that?

JOHN HUH: At the time I was in Korea playing the Korean Tour. I was watching TV. It was an unbelievable feeling when Y.E. Yang defeated Tiger in a major championship, especially. It really gave us hope that we can play and that we can beat anybody and that we can represent the best players in the world.

Q. Are you as calm as you appear to be on the golf course, because obviously when you won for the first time, you were seven back when the day started and you won in an eight?hole playoff, and you just appeared to be very confident. Is that the way you feel, or do you just very good at hiding your nerves?

JOHN HUH: I think I can go through my personality, I don't really try to rush anything and even my swing is not really fast, you know. So I'm not trying to hide anything, just trying to be myself and I think that's how I look on the golf course.

Q. You obviously have a great short game. You don't hit it real far off the tee, but you hit most of the fairways. Do you expect -- are you going to try to get longer? Do you think you need to? Or are just going to continue just to progress naturally and without trying to change anything?

JOHN HUH: That's a really tough question. You know, it would be nice if I hit it long as I hit it straight right now, but I'm pretty sure it will come out naturally and hopefully I can bring it in the future.

Q. And one other question, I'd like to ask you about Korean culture; if you can tell me why do you think it took the Korean men longer to succeed at the highest levels than it did Korean women, many of whom really didn't play until SeRiPak won the women's U.S. Open. What is it about the culture that you think held the men back for a while?

JOHN HUH: I guess you can put it as experience. As players, when I was over there, we didn't really have a lot of experience and I think that experience really helped them around -- to turn the best tour in the world. I think playing a lot of tournaments really helps a lot of players and I think that's what we see right now, in Q?School right now, and all over the place.

Q. You've had a lot of success in Korea; how much did that help you playing the Korean Tour when you came back to the States?

JOHN HUH: All I can say, it really helped me 100 percent, because I didn't really have a place to play, so I choose to go to Korea to play the Korean Tour for three years. I think it really gave me all of the experience that I possibly can experience on Tour.

And I really took all of the positive things that I saw over in Korea and took everything this year and I used it really wisely, all the experience that I had over there in Korea.

Q. Now that you have experienced what it's like to win and you've experienced a year on the TOUR, how much have your goals changed for next year, and what do you expect from yourself?

JOHN HUH: You know, because I have a great year this year, and I'm going to have a different schedule for next year, which is playing in a major, playing in all big events, and hopefully I prepare well and play my best in every tournament I possibly can and trying to win the tournament, and give myself a good chance every week.

Q. Were there any guys on TOUR who kind of helped you along? How did the other fellas on TOUR treat you? Did you have to pay your dues first before they own recognized you?

JOHN HUH: You know, whenever my friends ask me how the TOUR looks like, I tell them, all the guys on TOUR is nice. They are trying to help you out as they possibly can, and I really want to thank everybody who played with me and who had a practice round with me.

And especially Kevin Na, because he was one that I played with him a lot in the practice rounds and he really helped me a lot. Hopefully I can help other Koreans if I could, but not only Koreans, but any player who comes up to me and asks me, I would really appreciate and try to help them out as possibly I can.

LAURA HILL: Thank you for your time, and thanks to the media who called in. Congratulations and we'll see you on TOUR next year.

JOHN HUH: Thank you.